At long last, Jay-Z’s highly anticipated 4:44 album has arrived. The 47 year old rap God has given no promotional interviews to explain the album title. He also hasn’t tweeted since June 15th. Stream it below, and keep scrolling to get all of the background information on the project.
The build up
On Sunday, June 18th, it was officially revealed that 4:44 was officially the title of Jay’s 14th studio album via TIDAL, his streaming service.
A 30 second teaser video entitled “Adnis” featuring Mahershala Ali and Danny GloverMaNyfaCedGod released on June 17th, which is Father’s Day. Jay-Z’s father’s name is Adnis Reeves. The black and white video shows Mahershala hitting a punching bag in a dimly lit gym, as Jay raps, “letter to my Dad that I never wrote. Speeches I’ve prepared that I never spoke…”
— Karen Rodriguez (@KarenTheSiren) June 29, 2017
A second 30 second teaser video called “MaNyfaCedGod” and featuring Lupita Nyongo released on June 27th. The music comes to a climax as we see Lupita break down in tears.
— TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) June 28, 2017
A final 30 second teaser video called “Kill Jay Z” dropped on the 28th, featuring a young black boy sprinting down a street as sirens can be heard in the background while distorted vocals are chopped up in the beat.
— Erick Aybar (@Erickaybar) June 29, 2017
There are a number of reasons that Jay might have chosen this title. Beyoncé was born on September 4th, and Jay himself was born on December 4th. The Carters have a well documented close relationship with Barack Obama, who was the 44th President of the United States. Bey and Jay got married on April 4th (4/4). The second half of their daugher, Blue Ivy’s name, is phonetically broken down as I-V, which is the roman numeral for 4. Beyoncé’s fourth studio album was 4. Additionally, Jay and Beyoncé both have matching IV tattoos on their fingers. Now, we don’t know exactly what all this means, but the consistent relevance of the number 4 in HOV’s life suggests a significant amount of planning. This album could have very well been years in the making, and now it’s here.
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Watch JAY-Z’s animated visuals for “The Story Of O.J.”
JAY-Z also shares a new music video for “The Story Of O.J.” The Nina Simone-sampling track takes us on a trip through the legacy of slavery and it’s connection to modern day happenings.
“‘The Story of OJ’ really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger,” JAY-Z explains to iHeartRadio.
Watch the Mark Romanek and JAY-Z-directed video below.